Maitreya Instructs Vidura by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
Before the creation of this phenomenal world the Godhead as such with His full transcendental effulgence together with the desire of creation latent in Him was manifest as the absolute entity. Maya, the delusive energy of Godhead is His eternal potency. The phenomenal world was created through the instrumentality of maya from whom mahätattva and the other elements came into existence, then the presiding deities of the other elements prayed with folded hands to the Supreme Lord, craved shelter and indulgence of His Lotus feet that they might be given knowledge and strength enough to carry on what might go to fulfill His heart’s desire. The sage Maitreya then describes how the immanent Godhead entering into the twenty three elements joined them together, how the latter manifested themselves along with their working capacities and how the Virat-rupa (the most extensive body) was created as the repository of all universal beings. Hearing all these from the sage, Vidura enquired also how the nirguëa Supreme Personality can condescend to accept attributes and functions for His pastimes; how He, self-contended as He is, can have desires for playing like a child; how a jiva a potency of that transcendental Godhead, can be subjected to maya; how the jivas do suffer from forgetfulness of their own real selves and the miseries of this world when Godhead lives in them as Immanence. To these lengthy queries of Vidura, the sage Maitreya gave a long reply which it is not possible to be written in detail within this short compass, for which the readers are referred to the seventh chapter of the third canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. To satisfy the curiosity of the readers only the following lines are culled therefrom.
The sage Maitreya replied, that Godhead has His majesty quite inconceivable to us. He has His external potency maya through whose instrumentality jivas suffer their miseries in this world. Sorrow, fear, infatuation are the concomitant attributes of the bound jivas while in the case of liberated pure souls they are not so. The sorrows and sufferings of the jivas are the natural effect of their attachments for their mundane bodies, which can be got rid of only by pure devotion and through the grace of Godhead. Constant hearing of the chanting of His glories infuses in the jivas an attachment for the service of Godhead, in comparison with which removal of the miseries of the bound jivas is only a negligible item. Vidura’s doubts are being removed by the replies of the sage, he made further enquiry about other matters, because he was assured that chanting about Godhead would go to benefit the audience and the chanter as well. Maitreya then described how Brahma took his birth from the navel lotus of immanent Vishnu, how all his empirical attempts to search for the absolute proved to be futile and how through complete surrender alone he could receive the grace of Godhead and see Him. In his prayers to Godhead he said that this world is but a manifestation of His maya but He is at the root of all the avataras, that He never leaves the heart of those that always chant His glories, that jivas remain subject to sorrow, desire and attachments as slaves so long as they cannot fully surrender to Him. What to talk of the ordinary run of people, even the intelligentsia, if they become averse to the words of Godhead, are bound to be hurled into miserable world. It was through the grace of Vishnu that Brahma himself received the power of creation. The ten kinds of creation of Brahma, his line of descendence and manvantara were being described by the sage. Maitreya further described how Brahma created Sanaka, Marichi and others, Dharma and Adharma, how for the extension of creation, males and females were created from his own body and how through Daksha, one of the sons-in-law of Manu (who obtained his body from Brahma) this world has been filled with created beings. How Shri Vishnu redeemed the earth from its watery grave in the form of the Varaha (Boar) and how the same was kept afloat thereon when He vanished – all these were part of the subject-matter of his descriptions. Here the sage Maitreya remarked that anybody who serves Godhead with unconditional devotion is sure to be blessed with the best desideratum Of karma, jnana, yoga and bhakti, bhakti stands foremost of all to bring about the summum bonum of human existence. Therefore, barring the beasts, none should keep aloof from the service of Sri Hari.
— From the article of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur published in ”The Harmonist” September 23, 1935, Volume: 32 ·